“When I was a kid there was this implicit idea that my voice wasn’t really worthy of being heard.” – Deb Abela
Why is there still a lack of diversity in children’s books?
Late in 2019, Better Reading was awarded a grant from the Copyright Agency to produce a six-part series, A Conversation About Diversity in Children’s Writing. At the time we could not have predicted what 2020 would bring. We now understand more than ever how little we know, and how important these conversations are. It’s a time for us to ask questions, and listen to the answers provided by people who are more knowledgeable than us on this subject. In this episode, that person is Deborah Abela.
Deb was always an adventurous kid and lived in her head a lot. It was there she went on brave adventures as she swung from the swings in the park pretending she was dangling from planes. She once even jumped off the garage roof thinking if she ran fast enough she could make it all the way to the pool. It wasn’t a happy ending.
She loved school, especially English and drama. She was in the debating team, on various sports teams where she tried her hardest not to get trampled and even became school captain. After becoming a teacher, Deb went to Africa in search of adventure and found herself caught in a desert sandstorm, harassed by monkeys and thrown in jail … twice!
After three years she came home, went back to uni to study Communications and became the writer/producer of a national kids’ TV show called Cheez TV, where she wrote about everything from llamas to bunny jumping and how astronauts go to the toilet in outer space. Hmm …
In this episode, bestselling children’s author Deborah Abela talks to Cheryl about the benefits of diversifying children’s literature, and her work with young people in Sydney’s west with organisations such as WestWords.
Acknowledgment of Cultural Fund support
Better Reading acknowledges the support provided by Copyright Agency.